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President Theodore Roosevelt
• VP Theodore Roosevelt became
president after the assassination of
William McKinley in 1901
• TR was a different kind of president
–He thought the gov’t ought to take
responsibility for the welfare of the
American people
–His agenda of progressive reform
was called the “Square Deal”
Theodore Roosevelt:
A “Modern” President
• TR was committed to a
series of reforms:
–Breaking up harmful
monopolies (called
–Regulating businesses
such as railroads &
the meat industry
–Conservation of
natural resources
• During the Gilded Age, Congress passed a
series of laws designed to keep big
business in check:
–The Interstate Commerce Commission
(ICC) was formed in 1886 to regulate
–The Sherman Anti-Trust Act in 1890
made it illegal for companies to restrict
• But neither of these laws were strict
enough to control monopolies
• Roosevelt saw the benefit of efficient
monopolies, but wanted to control bad
–In 1902, the gov’t ordered the
Northern Securities Company (a giant
railroad monopoly) broken up because
it violated the Sherman Anti-Trust Act
–The Roosevelt administration “busted”
25 trusts in 7 years
Conservation of the Environment
• During the Gilded Age, corporations
clear-cut forests & viewed America’s
natural resources as endless
• Roosevelt began the 1st national
environmental conservation program
–The gov’t protected 195 million acres
as off limits to businesses
–The Reclamation Service to place
natural resources (oil, trees, coal)
under federal protection
National Parks and Forests
The Legacy of Theodore Roosevelt
• In 1908, Roosevelt decided not to run
for re-election as president
• TR’s presidency was important because
for the first time, the national
–Regulated big business
–Protected the environment
–Assumed responsibility for the welfare
of workers & consumers
The Legacy of Theodore Roosevelt
• In 1908, Roosevelt decided not to run for reelection as president
• TR’s presidency was important because for the
first time, the national government:
– Regulated big business
– Protected the environment
– Assumed responsibility for the welfare of workers
& consumers
Howard Taft
When Roosevelt decided
not to run for re-election
in 1908, his successor to
the presidency was
Republican William
Howard Taft
The Presidency of Taft
• Like TR, Taft believed that the U.S. needed
progressive reform:
– In his 4 years as president, Taft helped break up
twice as many monopolies as Roosevelt
– Created the Children’s Bureau & pushed for child
labor laws
– Helped create safety codes for coal miners &
railroad workers
The Presidency of Taft
• But, Taft did not always trust the gov’t
to solve problems & often sided with
conservative Republicans
–He angered progressives when he
supported a high tariff which helped
–He allowed a cabinet secretary to sell
1 million acres of conservation land
to businesses
• Progressive politicians hoped that TR
would run for president again
Progressives (& Roosevelt) began to view
Taft as having made a mess of TR’s reforms
The Election of 1912
• TR decided to run for president in
1912 but the Republican Party picked
Taft as their candidate
–TR created the Progressive (“Bull
Moose”) Party
–Taft was the Republican nominee &
the Democrats ran a reform
governor, Woodrow Wilson
• Republican voters were divided in
whom to support: Roosevelt or Taft
U.S. Imperialism: PUERTO RICO
Puerto Rice is still a U.S. territory;
Lots of poverty & unemployment
Philippines were
annexed by
the USA & not granted independence
after the Spanish-American War, the
Filipino-American War began in 1898
The Filipino-American War lasted 3 years
& cost more in money & American lives
than the Spanish-American War
When Theodore Roosevelt became
president, he used “Big Stick Diplomacy”:
Develop an active U.S. foreign policy with a
strong navy to accomplish goals
TR added the Roosevelt Corollary to the
Monroe Doctrine, giving the United States
“police powers” to protect Latin America
from European imperialism
TR usedU.S.
Stick Diplomacy”
to build the
Panama Canal by encouraging a
Panamanians to rebel from Colombia
tried to intervene
affairs when Huerta overthrew Diaz &
again when Carranza overthrew Huerta
Mexico & the USA almost
went to war when
Mexican rebel Pancho
Villa killed 33 Americans
The U.S. Becomes a World Power
• By the 20th century, the USA was a
world power:
–Built the world’s 3rd largest navy
–Annexed Hawaii, the Philippines,
Puerto Rico, many Pacific islands
–Asserted itself in Latin America
(Spanish-American War, Panama
Canal, & Roosevelt Corollary
–Influenced Asia (Open Door Policy)

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